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how easy to replace nut?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by unclebass, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. unclebass

    unclebass

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    I would like to know how easy it is to replace a fender jazz bass nut. I have a Squier that needs a new nut. I filed slots because string height at nut was WAY too high. Now perfect height with flatwound strings, but I have gone back to roundwounds, and the slots are a little too low. Laid tape in slots to get strings to correct height, but this is only temporary fix. I have no problem working on my own instruments, but would like some input from those who have already done it. Does anyone know if the nut in this bass has a flat bottom or a curved bottom? Thought about brass nut, but since only real effect is to open strings, will likely go with something a little easier to work with. Now for your input....GO!
  2. tabdog

    tabdog

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    You can get a piece of bone. Use a
    rotary sander of some kind to get
    the right thickness. Cut it just a little
    too big. Glue it in.

    You need some files or something to
    cut the grooves. A welding torch tip
    cleaner will work on the smaller strings.
    You can get one at a welding supply
    place for not much $$$. Don't make
    groove "V" shaped, it might bind the
    string.

    Once you have the grooves right,
    sand down the edges and top to final
    shape and smoothness.

    Best advice is, buy at least two or
    more. They are cheap and you will
    probably mess up at least one,, lol

    You might find a pre-cut plastic nut.
    If it's close enough, you can sand
    the bottom to get it close. It's
    less work, but I prefer to use bone,

    Tabdog
  3. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

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    If the slots are just a touch low, you can build them back up with some carefully applied super glue. I've used a straight pin as a 'paint brush' and coated the sides and bottom of the slot. (Some GENTLE filing may be required). If they're way low, replace the nut.
  4. tabdog

    tabdog

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    I've heard of that. Does it last?

    Tabdog
  5. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

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    So far, in the few times I've done it, it's lasted to date. It's easy and cheap enough to re-apply every few years, if needed. I'll add that I have heard no difference in the sound of open notes, let alone fretted ones.
    I should mention that this fix is not as 'fast' as you might guess. You should let the glue cure completely, like a few hours, or even overnight.
  6. willsellout

    willsellout

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    This is a good option. New nut installs are not easy, IMO.
  7. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    FireMelon
    My luthier replaced a nut for me on a P-bass, only charged me $25 (which was a deal but his full price is only $45). I'd go that route, save the trouble.
  8. mjac28

    mjac28 50th Anniversary Ed Sullivan February 9, 1964 Gold Supporting Member

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    +1 in and out and done and if he or she screws it up they fix it.
  9. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    Shaping and slotting a nut is not rocket science but it is skilled labor that requires practice. There are several points in the process where one mistake ruins the whole piece. Most of us don't want to invest in the proper tools or the time required to cut and slot 10 or 20 nuts to get the hang of it and understand the nuances. It makes $45 sound like a bargain.
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

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    The classic method is to put masking tape front and back on the nut, add some baking soda and then drop superglue into the slot. Poof! Turns into a bone-like substance.

    It's not an exact method, so some filing will be required.

    Otherwise, you can order blank nut material from stewmac.com and file to suit. There's good info here on TB about removing and replacing the nut.
  11. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

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    That's a cool tip. But I really think that if it's just a matter of a change of string gauge, a coating of SG will do it. It comes down to how off the nut is. Just a hair? Super glue. A big hair? I like your method. If it's way off, a trip to the luthier. But aside from that, if you've never cut a nut before, either the super glue or super glue/baking soda on an existing nut is a good starting point.

  12. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

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    CA glue is pretty soft, gummy stuff when cured. That's why it wears out after a few years. Filler is called for in this application. If CA is used to build up a nut slot, baking soda is a good way to go.

    Another method is to use some shavings from the top of the nut as a filler. File lengthwise along the nut with a smooth file. The shavings will drop into the slots. A drop of CA in the offending slots will take care of the rest. File as usual. Finish up with some 400 and 600 grit abrasives. Obviously, when the nut is properly cut to begin with, this method will not work because there is very little material that can be sacrificed from the top surface.
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    how is it that the nut is OK with flats but not with rounds?

    are the rounds actually hitting the first fret? if not, the nut is OK.

    for DIY nut repair like this, better than trying to fill and re-file all the slots is to pop it out, slip a layer or two of paper underneath, then re-glue it.
  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

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    Yup!
  15. BawanaRik

    BawanaRik Supporting Member

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    I would recommend buying two nut blanks. The first will almost certainly be a sacrifice on the later of learning.
  16. unclebass

    unclebass

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    yes, g string was laying on the first fret. It suprised me to see how much I had to shim up the strings to keep them from rattling against the first fret.
  17. RSBBass

    RSBBass

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    If the only problem is the nut is too low, you could put a shim under it.
  18. unclebass

    unclebass

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    will try shimming nut, will replace if it breaks while removing.

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